The Islamic attack with four fatalities and at least 22 injuries shook Vienna. The authorities are still looking for possible lenders at full speed.
After the terrorist attack in Vienna in which at least four people were killed, the investigation will continue in Austria on Wednesday. The central question is whether the IS sympathizer who was shot by the police at the crime scene acted alone. “The information that it is a single perpetrator densifies considerably. Nevertheless, we have taken enormous security measures in public places,” said the chief of the highest police authority, Franz Ruf, on ORF Tuesday evening.
On Monday evening, a 20-year-old Austrian with North Macedonian roots walked through an entertainment district near the great synagogue in Vienna with an assault rifle, a pistol, a machete and a dummy explosives belt. According to witnesses, he shot haphazardly at the crowded places.
Four people were killed in the attack, including a German. At least 22 other people were injured. After nine minutes, the police shot the attacker. The terrorist militia Islamic State (IS) announced on Tuesday evening that a “soldier of the caliphate” had committed the attack.
Minister of the Interior warns against counterfeiting
Following a frantic search for further perpetrators on Tuesday evening, Austrian authorities last estimated a single attacker. However, in the end they did not want to exclude other participants and first of all further evaluate the extensive footage. In the hours following the attack, 14 people from the perpetrator’s vicinity were provisionally arrested and 18 apartments were searched.
There are also concerns about further action. Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) said on Tuesday that it is in a “sensitive phase” in which it must be ensured that no acts of imitation take place.
Austrian security authorities must also ask themselves why Austro-North Macedonian dual citizenship was able to carry out the attack at all. The 20-year-old was sentenced to 22 months in prison in April 2019 for membership in a terror group after attempting to travel to Syria and join IS. Instead of July, he was released in early December 2019.
“The terrorist did not fall from the sky”
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) said of ORF: “The decision to release the perpetrator was absolutely wrong.” Searching for henchmen is now important. “The terrorist has not fallen from the sky, there must have been people who seduced and radicalized him.” He called for greater EU involvement against political Islam, which endangers freedom and the European way of life. “I expect an end to the misunderstood tolerance,” he told the “world.”
Nehammer said the perpetrator had managed to convince judicial authorities of his deradicalisation before he was released. “There was an early release of a radicalized man.” When asked whether the man was observed by constitutional protection authorities after his release, the minister gave no clear answer. But he could move freely.
Justice Minister Alma Zadić (Greens) on Tuesday defended the parole. Regular contact with deradicalisation organizations is only possible in the event of early release. The state office for the protection of the constitution and the fight against terrorism had been informed.
Wednesday is the second of three days of mourning the victims of the terrorist attack in Austria. Schools should keep a minute of silence at the start of the lessons. In Vienna, a normal school day takes place again on Wednesday after compulsory education was suspended for one day on Tuesday evening due to the unclear situation.